Gareth Southgate’s words from two years ago continue to resonate in the current landscape of English football. When faced with the dilemma of whether to include Jude Bellingham and Mason Greenwood in the England squad, he stressed the importance of nurturing young talent cautiously, ensuring their development without overwhelming them.
However, the paths these two exceptionally gifted players have taken since that moment have diverged significantly. Mason Greenwood’s trajectory took an unexpected turn when he faced suspension by Manchester United following his arrest. Meanwhile, Jude Bellingham continued his meteoric rise towards superstardom. These once-similar situations have now led them to different destinations.
Currently, Greenwood is on the brink of a fresh start as he prepares to make his debut for Getafe against Osasuna, marking the beginning of his journey to rebuild his career away from Manchester United. Conversely, Bellingham finds himself in a city where he is the star attraction. When Real Madrid faces Real Sociedad, Bellingham’s presence at the Bernabeu promises excitement, with fans already whispering about his potential Ballon d’Or candidacy if Real wins the Champions League and England performs well in the upcoming European Championship.
Crucially, the 20-year-old Bellingham is not only performing exceptionally on the field but also embracing the intense spotlight that often engulfs players at a club like Real Madrid. It’s a club known for creating legends but also for its fickleness, which can challenge even the biggest names in the sport.
While Greenwood may shine at Getafe this season, his star might fade outside of Spain’s capital. This was a key factor in his decision to join Getafe, a club not in European competition and competing in a league with diminishing attention from UK viewers. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to envision a return to the England squad for Greenwood, as his once limitless career seems to have encountered a ceiling.
In contrast, Bellingham’s career is ascending to new heights. His recent performance against Scotland garnered praise from Southgate, who highlighted his mentality, decision-making, and leadership qualities. Southgate even hinted at the possibility of Bellingham becoming England’s future captain, emphasizing the player’s personality and ability to align himself with strong leaders within the team.
While Bellingham hasn’t faced significant career obstacles yet, every player encounters setbacks. How he handles adversity will be a crucial test of his status in the football world. Meanwhile, Greenwood, who has faced challenges over the past 20 months, is working his way back to top form as he features in Getafe’s squad.
In the coming months, these two exceptionally talented young players will leave their mark in the Spanish capital. One aims to solidify his position among the world’s elite, while the other embarks on a journey of redemption—one step at a time.